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June 13 and 14 Current Affairs

June 13 and 14 Current Affairs

International Issues

United States has announced a six million dollar grant to Nepal for the school feeding program in the country. The grant has been provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the McGovern- Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program.

It will continue for next three years to provide mid-day meals for over two lakh children at 1,800 schools in 11 districts of the mid- and far-western regions.

The aid was announced after a team of representatives from the USDA, Education Ministry, the Deutsche Gesellschaft Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) visited Dadeldhura and Bajhang districts in Far western Nepal to observe activities under the School Feeding Programme supported by the WFP.

Under the USDA McGovern-Dole funded School Support Programme, in collaboration with GIZ and Nepal government, WFP is supporting activities such as construction of school buildings and compound walls, ground-leveling, use of smokeless cooking stoves and upgrading of paths children take to walk to school.

World blood donor day is observed on across the globe to create an awareness about the need for safe and secure blood supplies. The day provides an opportunity to draw public attention to the importance of blood donation for saving lives. This year's theme is “Every blood donor is a hero”.

The theme acknowledges the heroic gesture of donating blood to save lives and encourage all healthy people to voluntarily donate blood. It also draws attention to the importance of mobilizing adequate resources to support efforts to achieve voluntary blood donations. Various programmes are being organized across the country to generate public awareness of safe blood transfusion and blood donation.

National Issues

The Centre will bring a new law to replace the existing Persons with Disability Act 1995 to harmonise the rights and facilities provided for persons with disabilities at par with international standards.

Addressing the 11th meeting of the State Commissioners for Persons with disabilities, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mukul Wasnik said his ministry is working on a draft legislation for empowerment of persons with disabilities in line with the United Nations Convention on rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). 

The government has said that the nuclear energy sector will be opened to foreign direct investment, FDI. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office, Mr V. Narayanasamy, said that the policy on FDI in nuclear energy is still to be evolved and the final decision has still to be taken.

New Delhi is working on setting up a Central Asian E-network with its hub in India. Outlining some of the main elements of India's Connect Central Asia Policy, Minister of State for External Affairs E.Ahmed said the E-network will help in tele-education and tele-medicine connectivity linkages with all the five Central Asian countries.

The Centre is committed to further strengthen the Integrated Child Development Services, ICDS, programme by allocating more resources. Women and Child Development minister, Krishna Tirath stated this in a meeting with Secretary of US Health and Human Services Ms Kathleen Sebelllius in Washington.

Highlighting the role of ICDS in fighting malnutrition, in the country, Ms Tirath said the programme has the potential to break the intergenerational cycle of under nutrition as well as address the multiple disadvantages faced by mothers and children. 

The Centre has extended the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, RSBY, to domestic workers. A Labour and Employment Ministry release says, the main objective behind this is to inform the beneficiaries regarding enrolment procedures and benefits of the scheme. 

The state governments have to identify domestic workers who have completed 18 years of age on the basis of definition of domestic workers prescribed in the guidelines.

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has approved the proposal of 23 crore rupees financial assistance for creation of sports infrastructure facilities of multi-purpose indoor hall and synthetic hockey playfield for the States of Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Manipur.

In Chhattisgarh, a multi-purpose hall will be constructed in the tribal district of Kondagaon, for which a grant-in-aid of 6 crore rupees will be provided to the state Government.

In Haryana, a synthetic hockey playfield will be laid in the sports complex at Hisar, for which a grant-in-aid of 5 crore rupees will be given to the Government.

Multi-purpose indoor halls will be constructed in both Rajasthan's Karauli district and Manipur's Senapati district with a central grant of 6 crore rupees to each of these states.

Assam Government is likely to increase reservation for women in local bodies to 50 per cent, up from the current 33 percent. Addressing the gathering at Panchayat Mahila Shakti Abhiyan at Guwahati Rural Development Minister Rockybul Hussain said, the move has taken to ensure better functioning of the local bodies. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that active participation of women self -Help Groups in rural areas boost up the state’s economy.

The state has 1 lakh 70 thousand women Self Help Groups out of the total 2 lakh 50 thousand.

The Government has asked the Public Sector Insurance Companies to reorganise their branch network and open offices in smaller towns of the country without any further delay.

Addressing the Chairpersons of PSU Insurance companies in New Delhi, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, this will help in increasing insurance penetration in unserved areas.

He highlighted that the per-capita income has grown over the years and a large number of people in smaller towns are saving and are looking for insurance products.

Mr. Mukherjee also urged the insurers to immediately take the e-governance route and ensure that all policies, both new and renewal are available online. He said, this will help in tapping the growing segment of insurable population who is IT savvy. He asked insurance companies to appoint business correspondents as insurance agents to tap the huge potential in rural areas.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved:
  • Extending the duration of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project, scheduled to end on 31st March 2012, by another three years i.e. up to 31 March 2015.
  • To permit release of unutilized funds beyond March 2015 to States/UTs and if it becomes necessary, then the Ministry of Home Affairs shall be competent to make the fund releases with the approval of Home Secretary/Home Minister without seeking formal extension up to a period of one year i.e. up to March 2016.

Funds to the tune of Rs. 418.87 crore have been released to the State/UTs. About 4.54 lakh personnel have been trained under capacity building against a target of about 11.34 lakh personnel. Capacity Building (Infrastructure) has been completed for 861 units out of a target of 902 units. 17 States/UTs have issued Lols/signed contracts for the selection of System Integrators whereas 31 States/UTs have issued RFPs. 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the proposal 
  • to include 22 additional districts in the list of 250 BRGF districts and for extending the District Component of BRGF with the expanded coverage to the 2012-13, and 
  • to cover four additional districts under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) in 2012-13. The total allocation for both the programmes will also increase. 

The present approval is 
  • to expand the coverage of the District Component of BRGF from 250 districts to 272 districts with enhanced allocation from Rs. 5050 crore to Rs. 5350 crore, and 
  • to expand the coverage of the IAP from 78 districts to 82 districts with enhanced allocation from Rs. 2340 crore to Rs. 2460 crore.

Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Shri.Mukul Wasnik has urged States to appoint fulltime Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities and provide adequate staff and create necessary infrastructure for welfare and development of the disabled persons.

Addressing the 11th National Meeting of State Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities, Shri Wasnik said that the status of implementation of the existing Persons with Disabilities Act across the country is skewed and uneven. This is attributable to a variety of reasons including absence of full time Commissioners disabilities with independent charge at a state level. He said that his Ministry would extend all possible support in creating barrier free environment in States and UTs.

Bilateral Issues

The US firm Westinghouse Electric and the Nuclear Power Company of India Ltd., NPCIL have signed a preliminary pact for an Early Works Agreement, EWA for the installation of the first 1,000 MW American nuclear reactor in India under the historic 2008 Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

The signing of the MoU, coincides with the third Indo-US Strategic Dialogue headed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

The MoU relates to negotiating an EWA supporting future construction of 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors at the Mithivirdi site in Bhavnagar district in Gujarat.

The second Indo US Higher Education dialogue was held in Washington, United States with Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Kapil Sibal and U S Secretary of State Ms Hillary Clinton as the co-chair.

Secretary Clinton highlighted three main focus areas :
  • Work force development
  • Research in grand challenge areas like sustainable development, energy, public health
  • Developing open education resources

Economic Issues

The Indian economy will grow by 6.9 per cent in this financial year 2012-13 notwithstanding problems like policy uncertainties, fiscal deficit and inflation. The World Bank said this in the report titled 'Global Economic Prospect' in New Delhi.

Referring to developments in 2011, the multi-lateral lending agency said that growth in India was particularly weak due to monetary policy, stalled reforms and electricity shortages.

These factors, along with fiscal and inflation concerns, cut into investment activity. The report said India's economic growth rate in 2011-12 slipped to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent.

The economy had expanded by 8.4 per cent in the preceding two years. For the current fiscal, the government has pegged growth at 7.6 per cent.

The Reserve Bank of India, RBI has asked banks to speed up its process of setting up IT and IS governance systems. RBI has asked banks to improve their IT governance structures and evolve well defined Information Security frameworks. These systems will be useful in mitigating operational risks and help banks to effectively and efficiently improve their performance. RBI has further asked banks to develop and deploy suitable systems to submit their returns through Automated Data Flow. A complete implementation of the systems required should be done by March 2013.

In a different notification, RBI has asked banks to put in place a Board approved policy on classification of unclaimed deposits or inoperative accounts. in order to further strengthen the regulatory framework and with due diligence of KYC norms, RBI has once again asked banks to display list of unclaimed deposits or inoperative accounts which have been inactive or inoperative for ten years or more on their websites by June 30, 2012.

Inflation rose slightly, to 7.55 per cent in May this year, from 7.23 per cent in April, because of a spurt in the prices of potatoes and pulses, although onions and fruits showed a declining trend. 

Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index, had stood at 9.56 per cent in May last year. Overall food inflation rose to 10.74 per cent in May, from 10.49 per cent in April. Potatoes turned costlier by 68.1 per cent during May, on an annual basis.


Rajesh Nandan Prasad, presently the deputy High Commissioner of India to Britain, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Switzerland. 

Renowned Pakistani Gazal maestro Mehdi Hassan passed away in Karachi after protracted illness. He was 84 years old.

Science & Technology

A sophisticated orbiting telescope that uses high-energy X-ray vision to hunt for black holes in the Universe was launched after a two-stage aircraft-to-rocket takeoff. NASA said in a statement that the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) was lifted into the skies by Orbital Sciences' L-1011 aircraft, carrying a rocket on its underbelly that later launched the satellite. 

The jet took off from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The NuSTAR project aims to study energetic phenomena such as black holes and the explosions of massive stars. The first data from the telescope is not expected for about 30 days.



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